West Street, Warwick, Warwickshire CV34
A small but strikingly tall red brick church in an elaborate English Decorated Gothic style typical of its architect, E. W. Pugin. ‘Here (Pugin) solved the problem of the reconciling of the Gothic style with the Tridentine liturgy’ (O’Donnell). The interior has been reordered and redecorated but still retains much of its original character, and a complete set of contemporary stained glass.
As late as 1857 there was no Catholic chapel in Warwick and the nearest Mass centre was at Hampton-on-the-Hill. Funds for the present building were raised through the efforts of Canon Thomas Longman, the priest at Hampton. The church was designed by E. W. Pugin and is one of several claiming to be the first in England dedicated to the Immaculate Conception after the definition of the dogma in 1854; it was opened by Bishop Ullathorne on 12 June 1860. A presbytery was built at the same time.
In 1893 the sanctuary was repainted with roundel portraits of Our Lady, the four Evangelists and, according to Kelly, ‘pictures representing the ecclesiastical history of Warwick’ (this scheme is attributed to Alphege Pippet in the list entry and by Scarisbrick, but a contemporary account in The Tablet (3 June 1893) names Thomas F. Norman of Warwick as the artist responsible; Norman (1855-1935) was also employed by the Hardman firm, and also worked at Hampton-on-the-Hill and Princethorpe, qqv). The decoration has now been largely overpainted, although the roundel portraits survive. A school was added in 1905. In more recent times, the presbytery has been rebuilt, a new northwest porch with an attached parish room added (1993) and the adjacent former school converted to a social centre (2001). The interior of the church was reordered in 1969.
See list entry, below. The builder was Mr William Gasgoyne of Leamington. Of the fittings, the Stations of the Cross were apparently painted by Rebecca Dulcibella Ferrers, née Orpen of Baddesley Clinton (1830-1923) who was a prolific painter in oils and watercolour. Much of her work remains at Baddesley Clinton, including the Stations of the Cross in the church there. Almost all the stained glass dates from the 1860s and 1870s. The sanctuary east window and two others in the sanctuary and also the large west window are by Hardman, the remainder are by Tony Dury. The painted decoration in the sanctuary is by Thomas F. Norman, not Alphege Pippet, as stated in the list entry; it was previously more elaborate, but has been much simplified, with only the roundel portraits preserved.
Roman Catholic church. 1859-60 by Edward Welby Pugin. Red brick with stone dressings. Slate roof with gabled west end and semi-conical east end. PLAN: Nave with gallery at west end, apsidal sanctuary and North and South aisles with east chapels. High Victorian Gothic style. EXTERIOR: The west gable has large plate-tracery rose window in moulded pointed arch flanked by buttresses, quadruple pointed arch windows below and statue niche to right, the whole west front is divided by broad stone bands, the lowest band continues into gallery turret on right and on left pointed arch doorway into end of lean-to aisle. On the sides above the aisles sexfoil clerestory windows. On ridge set back behind the west gable a timber bellcote with a slate spire with a wrought iron cross. Similar crosses over apse and galley stair tower. INTERIOR: Is lighted from the clerestory and west window only and the nave and apse are in one and have an arched brace roof on corbels with exposed purlins and rafters. Plastered walls with painted decoration. 3-bay N & S arcades with moulded pointed arches on circular piers. Painted bands above arcades continue into apse where there are painted roundels of the Saints by Alphege Pippet of Hardman and Co. High in apse a sexfoil window in a pointed arch flanked by cusped lancets with colonettes. The clerestory windows have pointed rear arches. At the west end a timber gallery with organ. Painted Stations of the Cross in blind aisle windows. Sanctuary reordered. Carved stone altar panel depicting the last supper and stone reredos with angels in arcade. Stone Polygonal pulpit. Benches complete. Stained glass by Tony Drury.
Listing NGR: SP2796064565
Architect: Edward Welby Pugin
Original Date: 1860
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Grade II